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Panic Time? Oscar-Bait Movies Keep Tanking at Box Office

'Till,' 'Tar,' 'Armageddon Time' and 'Banshees' collectively can't draw a crowd

“Top Gun: Maverick” proved Americans were ready, willing and able to visit movie theaters again following the lockdowns.

That blockbuster, atop prior smashes like “The Batman” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” gave studios hope the pandemic didn’t cause long-term damage to the theatrical model.

One burning question remained, though. Would audience flock to see more mature dramas, the Oscar-bait films that often draw critical raves and sell tickets?

The news this Fall isn’t good on that front.

Amsterdam’ to Lose $80M-$100M According to Box Office Analysts | THR News

Awards season fare is faring terribly at the box office, and this weekend confirmed it.


  • “Tar” – $3.6 million following major expansion this weekend (released Oct. 7)
  • Armageddon Time – $902K total following major expansion this weekend
  • Call Jane – $425K total following major expansion last weekend
  • The Banshees of Inisherin – $2.2 million total following major expansion this weekend
  • “Amsterdam” – $14.7 million after Oct. 7 release
  • Triangle of Sadness” – $2.2 million via fewer theaters (510)
  • Till” – $4.7 million in set-wide release (2,000+ screens)

“Amsterdam” had a galaxy of stars to help promote the film – Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Christian Bale, Taylor Swift, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers and more. The film could lose up to $100 million thanks to its high budget and terrible ticket sales.

“The Woman King,” which has modest awards season promise, offers more mainstream action and earned an impressive $65 million so far.

Other Oscar hopefuls waiting in the wings?

  • “The Fabelmans”
  • “She Said”
  • “Bardo”
  • “Babylon”
  • “Women Talking”
  • “The Whale” 
  • “Empire of Light”

Can any reverse the shocking box office trend? “The Fabelmans” is cleverly described as Steven Spielberg’s origin story, but the Oscar winner’s last film, “West Side Story,” tanked at the box office.

Robbie’s “Babylon” is from celebrated auteur Damien Chazelle, but the actress couldn’t generate interest in “Amsterdam” mere weeks ago.

Babylon Trailer #1 (2022)

Studios are pinning their hopes on mainstream fare like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which is tracking like an upper-tier MCU film, and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The latter hails from James Cameron, and while his 2009 blockbuster “Avatar” lacks the cultural love of some franchises, it’s unwise to bet against the director.

The far-Left Deadline points to one glaring problem. with awards season fare.

Again, it’s product, product, and a bulk of these indie films are dour or tiresome for audiences:

These films hardly feel fun or uplifting.

  • “Banshees,” while exquisitely crafted, follows a long-term friendship’s demise and the ghastly fallout from the dissolution.
  • “Till” recalls the horrific death of a young black teen at the hands of unabashed racists.
  • “Armageddon Time” looks back at the 1980s not with fondness or warmth but shame.

In Biden’s America, audiences want escapism for their dwindling cash reserves. These awards season entries just aren’t delivering.

The talent behind these films aren’t helping themselves. James Gray of “Armageddon Time” fame insulted GOP voters while promoting the film.

George Clooney did something similar while pushing “Ticket to Paradise,” but the rom-com proved too infectious for audiences to ignore. It’s one of the season’s few hits.

The pandemic forced studios to stream much of their new product given how many theaters stay shuddered at the time. Would that train movie lovers to stay at home, permanently, while the theatrical fare made its way to VOD lineups?

“Maverick” and other films showed we still love going to the movies. What we’ve yet to see if an appetite for Oscar-worthy tales at the cineplex.


  1. This has to be the weakest “Oscar Season” I can recall in a very long time. These movies draw 0 interest from anyone. I love that these idiots in Hollywood are just going full in and telling people “Don’t see our movie if you’re a Desantis supporting Nazi!” wow great way to market your product. Great way to get ANYONE on board with something you produce or have to say.

  2. Check out the Weird Al movie at the Roku Channel online. It’s inventive and funny. In 2022. And not even a whiff of politics. I’ve already rewatched it twice, second time for the jokes/bits and the first time to assess my naivete (way too trusting as it turns out).

  3. Make movies that literally hate the audience, then have the lead actors go out and say they hate the audience and then be surprised the audience does not pay you money…yep, that is the Hollywood mindset.

  4. Ratings?! We don’t need no stinking ratings! Why should ratings matter? Have you seen some of the Hollywood garbage that has won Oscars in the past? They will nominate and vote for the most diverse, LBGTQ++++, climate change friendly, woke piece of garbage and hoist the winner upon their shoulders.

  5. Until Hollywood creates a story worth watching that isn’t dismissive of traditional values I find no reason to spend any money on rewarding these destroyers of culture. As many have said “Go woke go broke”

  6. Elvis was great! There should be more movies like that. Everything else coming out of Hollywood is a snorefest Zzzzzzz….

  7. All “award shows” mean nothing more than a group of rich idiots getting together in self-congratulatory adoration. The quality – or lack thereof – of the product is irrelevant.

  8. Mega dittos to above commenters. Movies today are lousy. The actors can’t help lecturing the audience on their Marxist anti Christian beliefs. Movies promote the idea that men are bad, white people are bad, Christianity and Western Civilization are bad. Heterosexuality is bad. Most people don’t believe any of that.
    People haven’t changed since say the 1930s. The movies in the 30s showed traditional values. People watch them today and like them. No one likes the movies that are made today.

  9. Most of us want actors to just do their jobs and keep their opinions to themselves. The last movie I remember going to see was Agatha Christie’s Muder on the Orient Express. It was great. Actor’s need to act and stop publicly insulting people they don’t know or understand.

  10. Hurray for Harveywood! What happens if you pump Marxism and woke theology down the throats of your viewership? THIS. It’s just a happy dream that all of these limousine libs go rapidly broke, but I really can’t wait until these smug idiots have been erased by CGI improvements. A team of artists and some AI must be FAR less expensive than any Diva. t’s starting; Musk drove them away from Twitter, so now they’ll have to Instagram each other and the Chinese to get any attention – looking at YOU Kathy Griffith. Perhaps they’ll go to the (extinction foreshadowing) Mastodon instead. They could always move back to the Canadian digs they moved to when “Not My President” was duly elected, right? Can’t wait to hear the election results you helped create.

    1. Yes indeed. It’s pretty simple. Most people’s daily grind is mind-numbing, tedious and basically soul crushing to one extent or another. When they go to a movie (or watch one at home) or watch a TV show, they want to escape their daily BS and find some enjoyment in getting their mind off of the everyday grind. Sitting down in front of a movie or show and finding you’ve inadvertently signed up for a 90 to 120 minute woke scolding/lecture isn’t fun for anyone. That’s why more and more people are avoiding movies/shows these days, or diving deep into streaming services (or their own physical media) and watching old movies and shows. For example, 99% of the folks out there, if they were looking for a fun action type movie/show would watch the original Charlie’s Angles episodes, or the two movies made in the early 2000s, as opposed to the new woke scold super duper feminist “reboot” from a few years go. The original show and the two movies with Drew Barrymore and company are fun entertainment, designed to let you take your mind off your daily grind for a bit. They’re not there to lecture and scold you and beat you over the head with a woke message. THAT is why people prefer them to the new garbage being pumped out.

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